In continuation of Vagabond..
A mystic is a concealer by nature. But, what does a mystic conceal? Answers.
I do not know if it is or not, but the word ‘mystery’ has to be an extension of the word ‘mystic’ because there is nothing more mysterious in this world than a mystic. He will stay silent for ages, will not utter a word about his condition or yours, will not share his secrets to anybody until and unless he is sure that the person seeking the answer has nothing else on his mind other than knowing the answer. Till the time a person’s mind is occupied by a thousand thoughts, mystic remains silent, and he has no problem in remaining silent all his life. The thing to be understood is that a mystic is the second stage of vagabonding. First you travel, see, experience, understand, learn and know. Then, you keep all the knowledge hidden until you find someone worthy of knowing what you know. That is how a mystic works. He wants your old self to die so that your new self can be shaped according to his will and what is his will you might ask? His will is to show you the way of the nature.
As long as you are afraid of dying, of letting go, mystic will not flutter near you, even by mistake. Once you drop the fear, he will put the garb of mindfulness on you and take you to the land of pure knowledge. It is a place where nobody has to tell you anything, the creation opens up in front of you and reveals all its secrets. You don’t hear anything, the mystic doesn’t say anything. He takes you to a certain point and leaves you there, to see the dance of creation. There is a beautiful story relating to this that I want to share. I read this story when I was a teenager. It is a story of a twelve years old boy who wanted to understand how fire worked. He was amazed to see that fire begins from nothing and dies into nothing. He tried his best but could not solve the riddle. But he was adamant to know. He took up a master, an old sadhu in a deep forest. The sadhu tasked him to keep the fire in his room alive no matter what. The sadhu didn’t care whether it was day or night, whether the boy had eaten anything or not, the fire had to be kept alive. the boy was assigned no other task. The boy was so bent on cracking the mystery that he spent days and nights bringing wood from the forest to keep the fire alive. At first, he thought the sadhu will reveal the secret after a week, but the sadhu didn’t say anything after a week. The boy then hoped to know the secret at the end of the month, but the sadhu kept on with his daily routine of discourses to the people of nearby villages and didn’t pay any attention to the boy. A year passed and the boy had left all hope of knowing the secret of the fire. The fire was kept alive for an year but it seemed as if the sadhu was not convinced with the boy’s efforts. But, the boy had made up his mind.
The boy kept the fire alive for twelve years without fail. He didn’t talk to anyone, he didn’t go out to hunt for food. He ate whatever was served to him. The villagers pleaded the sadhu to reveal the secret of the fire to the boy so he could invest his energy in making something out of his life. He had grown into a young man but all he did was to bring wood from the forest to keep the fire alive. But, the sadhu didn’t utter a word about it. In fact he became harder on the boy. He was not the type of men who are easily persuaded. One night, as the boy was making sure that fire will stay alive while he slept, he heard a voice. The secret was told. The boy looked around but there was nobody in the room except him, or was there?
He looked at the burning flame and he saw a smiling face.
He rushed to the sadhu and told him what happened. When the sadhu heard of the incident, he started to dance. He said, ‘I was waiting. Because, when the fire reveals itself, that is something. All this time, I was forcing the fire to reveal the secret because ultimately compassion will arise, existence is compassionate. I could have given you the secret any day, but that would not have solved the purpose. It would have been from me. Who knows whether I’d be able to make you understand the real meaning of my thoughts through the limitations of the language. But now the doors of existence have opened for you by the existence itself. Now you are in communion with fire itself, you are initiated by the fire. Welcome to the league of mystics, where everything is a mystery and yet, nothing is.’ And, then they danced, went round on each other for hours.
You must be wondering what secret can the fire give? The secret of death. There is concept of cremation in some religions that associates fire with death. Fire is the widely accepted symbol of death, one dies in it. Same goes for the water. But, those who know and seek on the path, also know that one is resurrected through it, dies and is reborn. The old thinking burns out, washes out and the new man emerges. In both cases, whether through fire or water, death is the point. One has to die to attain life worth living, one has to carry one’s own cross on one’s own shoulders. Nobody else can initiate you, only death. Death is the master, or the master is death.
The night the fire talked to the boy, he understood that mystics were not mysterious but highly knowledgeable. The mystics were so knowledgeable that they didn’t worry about sharing the knowledge by mere speaking. Instead, they believed in miracles of existence and when the miracles happened, they danced, and when they danced, they did not remain mystics, they became Sufis.
To be continued…